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Helen Crowley, GEM Secretary General Receives Prestigious Joyner Memorial Lecture Award


Dec 14, 2023

Apr 10, 2024

Photo credit: Furkan Narlıtepe (IUSS/GEM)

Seattle, Washington, USA. April 10, 2024. Helen Crowley, Secretary General of the GEM Foundation, has been honoured with the prestigious Joyner Memorial Lecture Award for her distinguished contributions to earthquake science and engineering communication at the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) Annual Meeting held in Seattle, Washington, USA.

"I am truly grateful to have been selected to deliver this year's Joyner Memorial Lecture. In keeping with the spirit of this award, I have endeavoured to craft a presentation that speaks to a broad audience, ranging from earthquake scientists to earthquake engineers," Helen expressed after receiving the award.
Helen (R) receives the award from Prof. Ellen Rathje, EERI President-Elect and Chair of the Selection Committee.

Commemoration of William B. Joyner

The accolade was announced on November 1, 2023 by the awarding institutions, Seismological Society of America (SSA) and EERI to recognise the remarkable career of William B. Joyner at the U.S. Geological Survey, emphasising his commitment to bridging research findings in earthquake science with practical engineering applications.

Exploration of Seismic Hazard Modeling

Titled "Why seismic hazard modelling has become a risky business," Helen's lecture explored the evolving interface between probabilistic seismic hazard assessment (PSHA) models and seismic design practices. Tracing the historical shift from seismic zonation maps based on observed macroseismic intensity to the prevalence of PSHA-based approaches in design codes since the landmark paper by Cornell in 1968, her lecture presented the challenges and debates surrounding the use of these models in earthquake engineering.

Insights from Italy and Contribution to Global Dialogue

Highlighting critiques of PSHA outputs and the recent move toward risk-targeted approaches in seismic design regulations, Helen drew insights from the Italian context, where despite commendable efforts made to evaluate spatial variations of risk in buildings designed to the latest standards, PSHA models have continued to encounter criticism.

Helen said, “The focal point of my lecture is Italy, a country where I have resided and worked for more than two decades, exploring the progression of seismic actions in design codes from 1908 to the present day. Additionally, I address the questions and concerns that arise from evolving seismic hazard models." 
Emphasising the global relevance of her lecture, Helen further added, “Following my participation in the USGS's National Seismic Hazard Modelling workshop, held concurrently with the EERI Annual meeting, it became evident that the themes addressed in my lecture also hold relevance for the United States - I hope, therefore, that my presentation can contribute to the global dialogue on these critical subjects.”

Looking ahead

The lecture represents an opportunity to examine seismic design's future trajectory and the imperative of incorporating resilience into codes amid advances in earthquake science. Helen's extensive expertise in earthquake engineering and her commitment to advancing seismic risk understanding align perfectly with the spirit of the Joyner Memorial Lecture Award.

On May 2nd at 6:00 PM, Helen will be presenting at the SSA Annual meeting in Anchorage, Alaska.

For more updates, check Helen's LinkedIn post here: Why seismic hazard modelling has become a risky business | LinkedIn

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Photo credits: Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI)

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